Wednesday, December 31, 2008


For Children's Cup and for Jean and me, 2008 was filled with challenges and great growth.

We expect 2009 to ratchet up even higher--more hurting children helped, deepened spiritual training for staff.

Thanks to y'all that make this possible.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Be merry.
Be blessed.
Be thankful for Jesus.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I just had another of those wonderful moments that are complete joy--nothing else needed to make me happy.

First, I am in Africa.

Five year old granddaughter was sitting on my lap. We were watching the wonderful classic "Heidi."

The warm love in the story, the beautiful, sweet bundle of life named Trinity snuggled in my arms, the echoes in my ears of 10,000 kids giggling and screaming with delight at the Children's Cup CarePoint Christmas parties--what else could a grandfather missionary ask for?

Trinity just hopped off my lap to help her family give a Christmas party to a couple dozen orphans that live nearby. They are going to let the kids decorate cookies--and then eat them all.

I wish for but what I have.

I wish you all moments like this.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


The Children's Cup children's Christmas parties are over.

The giggles and squeals are silent.

The trash is picked up.

And the staff are bone-tired.

But, there are 10,000 AIDS orphans and vulnerable children who will remember (perhaps for the rest of their lives) the games, the gifts, the food, the spoken and demonstrated love of Jesus.
Thanks to all who gave to make it possible.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I've just seen a miracle!

She is a twelve year old Swazi orphan.

She has been near to death several times with a horrible disease. Once we thought she had only minutes to live. Today it was hard to imagine she was ever that sick.

You would know that we all wept as she quoted the 23rd Psalm for us. "The valley of the shadow of death," phrase took our breath away. She locked eyes with me and smiled as she said it. She knew what she was talking about.

"When you grow up I want you to come work for us at Children's Cup. You have a job waiting for you," I told her.

I meant it.

Sunday, December 07, 2008


So amazing! Yesterday the first 4,000 of the 10,000 Children's Cup AIDS orphans and vulnerable children had the experience of their lives--a massive Christmas party.

Today there may be as many as another 1,000 at different location--more in the days to come.

Entire communities are impacted by these events. The kids will never forget it.

They are worth doing.

Thank you, generous partners, for making this happen.

Saturday, December 06, 2008


In a few minutes Jean and I will be going to the biggest Christmas party in Swaziland--for Children's AIDS orphans and vulnerable children.

More parties on Swaziland, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe over the next few days. We expect a total of 10,000 kids in all.

There will be gifts, food, games, skits, giggles, laughs, screams of delight. For a few hours the little ones won't hurt as much as they normally do.

Also, check out for our version of the Twelve Days of Christmas--twelve daily sets of projects you may want your own family to be part of.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


Okay, we got past the dog poisoning night before last. Home invaders do that so they can break into your house later during the night.

No invaders came.

Then last night the alarms went off signalling a breach in the security system. We quickly checked the perimeter walls and found nothing so we reset the system. Then it went off again.

Ben discovered the cause--a loose electrical connection. Phew!

There's always something to prickle the edges of your peace on the mission field.

Monday, December 01, 2008


Yesterday while we were at church they tried to poison Cocoa, Ben and Susan's boerbull guard dog--again. That usually means they will try to break in during the night.

I don't know how many lives a dog is supposed to have but this one keeps outliving the poisons.

Cocoa's OK today--and so are we.

Of course, we prayed and stayed alert and no invaders came.

Will you pray for the staff here for God's ongoing soveriegn protection?

Thursday, November 27, 2008



It was a privilege to wake up this morning in Africa—a wonderful, awesome, terrible, hurting place.

Africa is a blood-soaked land, Blood-bought by Jesus.

The harvest here is beyond ripe.

Thank you, Lord, for allowing us to be here.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Yesterday we prayed with him.

A few days ago he had been threatening (weapon in hand) to kill someone he felt had wronged him.

His anger had subsided and he realized how wrong his actions had been.

Our staff in one of the African countries Children's Cup works in saw this man as a redeemable soul, not a throw away sinner.

The stresses of poverty, disease, and political mayhem have most of the population living right at the outer limit of their emotions. There will never be peace where there is no hope.

Hope's name is Jesus and He is the Peace Bringer.

Friday, November 21, 2008


This is a rare event. I don't believe I have ever needed to tell Children's Cup donors to stop sending money for a project.

The Christmas parties for our 10,000 children in 25 CarePoints are paid for--in fact enough more has come in we are upgrading the events and including Swazi teachers and staff.

Other needs keep pressing in but this one is covered!

Monday, November 17, 2008


Congratulations Kevin Mawae and team!

Kevin, you are a worthy, God-serving hero for our youth--for all of us.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Pastor John, Pastor Dan and Pastor Mundo just spent time with us here in Swaziland. They ministered to the staff last night--a life-changing time for our leaders.

This morning John preached at HPC Swaziland--20 people got saved!

I love the networking between USA churches and Children's Cup CarePoint/Church projects. Multi-level strength.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


The Godly young couple has come to you for advice. One of them is HIV positive—the other is not. Both have lived pure lives for years after youthful rebellion. They have fallen deeply in love.

“We’d like to get married. We know the risks, but we still want to.”

What do you tell them?

Another situation.

She heard Pastor Ben’s sermon about living a Godly life. She decided she would. She told her live-in partner (and provider) for 18 years that they must marry or she would have to leave.

“I will not marry you. You decide, stay or go.”

She left and now she and her two children are homeless and jobless. "Since I decided to live a holy life everything has gotten harder."

What do you tell her?

These are just two of the human crises we have faced in recent days.

What would you tell them.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I just hung up the phone here in Swaziland, Africa, from calling my friend in Ohio--Lt. Col. Paul Kari--a true American hero. He was out so I left a message of thanks and gratitude for his sacrifice for America--that includes my family and yours.

Paul spent 8 years in the "Hanoi Hilton" Hoa Lo prison. He was tortured continuously and has not known a pain-free day since.

Yet I watched him stand with Ben and me at the prison and forgive his tormentors--even gave dollars for Children's Cup projects to help the children of the people who hurt him.

Paul turned a hurting place into a forgiving place and God made it a healing place.

A lesson for all of us.

Thank you, Paul, and every American who has served our great country for the freedoms you preserved for us.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Here in Africa we face a fast barrage of unrelenting, grindingly emotional needs--a complex, inundating tide of disease, child abuse, immorality, poverty and hopelessness.

At the same time we are seeing massive growth in the number of children we reach (now 10,000+ per day) and the depth of spiritual ministry we have with the children.

Youth ministry teams have been raised up out of the orphans and vulnerable children. They go into schools presenting Jesus and they go into dense slums helping clean up and repair the huts and shacks of needy people--all in Jesus' name.

I could not be more proud of the Cup Team. They keep up this unrelenting pace by always leaning on Jesus to hold back burn-out and compassion fatigue. Only His supernatural touch sustains them.

I have the sense of walking with heroes when I'm with the Team.

Please pray for the missionaries and nationals that live so close to the edge of disaster.

We now have 20 of the 25 CarePoint parties covered.
That leaves only 5 CarePoints to go at $1250 each.

Friday, October 31, 2008



Children's Cup has now received donations covering 9 of the 25 events, plus pledges for three more.

It costs $1250 for each CarePoint to give each of our 10,000 kids a gift, food (including meat and ice cream), medical attention, games, dramas, and spiritual help.

The kids will never forget the event.

12 of 25 parties are covered.
That leaves 13 @ $1250 to go by December 1st.


I thought that after traveling in 109 countries I would be immune to culture shock.

I'm not.

Several months of being in the good old USA with instant high-speed internet have spoiled me.

We've been on a hectic series of road trips to other countries since we got here and seldom could find workable access to the internet.

We are back in Mbabane for a few days where we have internet access--but that doesn't mean much. The access is random and intermittant, slow and will cut you out without warning.


And now I am rebuked by the memory of our first year overseas. We were in the Philippines and it was almost a year before we even had a telephone conversation with our family in

Now with Skype we can have video calls to America--free!

We really do have awesome communication tools today.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Happy Landings and Connectings

Years ago my flight instructor told me, “Any landing you walk away from is a happy one.”

Jean and I had a “happy landing” Friday in Dakar, Senegal. Pilot error. He dropped the jumbo down on its left wheels very hard which threw the plane into a careening, waddling, fishtailing, screeching trajectory down the runway.

Although no one was hurt (everyone held their breath for a few moments), this caused damage to some of the electronic sensors in the luggage area that had to be fixed before we could take off again. It took some hours to get that fixed.

That meant late arrival at Johannesburg, South Africa which meant we missed our connection to Swaziland.

But the good news is that it put us on the same plane Saturday with Pastors Matt and Martha Fry and their three children from the great C3 Church (Cleveland Community Church) in Clayton, North Carolina.

I think their attendance at C3 is larger than the total population of its neighboring towns. It has been honored as one of America’s fastest growing churches. The Frys are here in Swaziland to minister to the Children’s Cup staff and the Healing Place Church of Swaziland.

Saturday night at meeting at the Rodgers’ home, Pastor Matt spoke from an anointed heart and an incisive mind as he challenged the HPC leadership team to rise up to new levels in all areas of their lives and ministry.

Sunday he challenged us from Psalm 103 when he spoke at Swaziland HPC.

If you gathered all my favorite people in the world, Matt and Martha would be on the front row.

Thanks, Fry family for all you mean to us.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


We are in the final stages of packing for our flights back to Swaziland. Thursday we leave. After doing 60 or more round trips you'd think it would get easier and the flights would not seem so long.

Not so.

Minimum of twenty seven hours door-to-door. I start out with great resolution to use the forced quiet time for writng and reading and being productive. But sometimes I spend the last third of the trip just vegging.

Lord, prepare me now to make the very best use of these traveling hours for Your Kingdom. Is there a verse to discover? A thought to write? A person to minister to? Help me not to miss what You have for me in this journey.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Pastor Rick brought a poweful message on forgiveness last night at Healing Place Church.

Key point in the message: We are forgiven only to the extent that we forgive others!

I hope he preaches it again when he comes to Swaziland in May, 2009.

I have a sense that unforgiveness is a very pervasive problem--inside the church as well as outside.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Think about this:

Most of the business and government leaders so lacking in ethics and moral values--the ones who are destroying our economy and government--went through the American schools after the Bible was thrown out in the 1960's.

And this:

Bad goes too far, good won't go far enough.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Today's mail included funds for two more CarePoint Christmas parties at $1250 each.

Children's Cup is giving regional Christmas parties for the 10,000 orphans and vulnerable children we care for in our 25 CarePoints. Fun, food, gifts, games, singing, Gospel--life changing experiences for these beautiful, hurting kids.

Update: To date we have received cash or pledges for nine Christmas parties--16 to go.


I've watched this man's life for 50 years. He's genuine.

Tom is Associate Pastor at The Rock Church in Huntsville, Alabama. The Reverend Rusty Nelson is the lead pastor of this awesome church--check it out if you are in that area.

Our love and respect, Brother Tom.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


My Eagle Grove High School classmates held a silent auction at our 50th class reunion and raised funds for Children's Cup--enough to pay for three of our twenty-five CarePoint Christmas parties for our 10,000 African AIDS orphans.

Just now as I was about to post this I got word that two more Christmas parties have been funded. Amazing!

Thanks again, Eagles.

Total to date: 7 parties funded, 18 to go at $1250 each

Sunday, October 05, 2008


Last night at my class reunion I discussed combat flying in Vietnam with Joe. He is modest and you have to pry to learn the extent of his heroism as a fighter jet pilot.

This I know: Joe did not deserve the treatment he and most of our returning Vietnam vets received at the hands of the very people they risked their lives to protect.

America has not yet done enough to honor them.

Another wave of our nation's protectors coming home from the Middle East are getting the same treatment.

I believe the Church should lead the way in giving honor to our heroes--first by praying for them and their families and then by public acts of recognition and gratitude.

Thank you again, Hero Joe!

Saturday, October 04, 2008


Spent some time with classmate Gene Tveit at our class reunion (50th) last night.

Gene is a retired airline pilot who flew around 175 missions in Vietnam--helicopter dust-offs often into hot landing zones with live ground fire trying to drop the chopper.

"How did you handle the fear of being so vulnerable to live fire?" I asked.

"I prayed." Simple answer with profound meaning.

I could tell his memories and old feelings were filling the space between us. He mentioned the pain of losing so many friends in combat.

Then he locked eyes with me and said, "I never refused an extraction mission--no matter the risk. God always helped me."

And I thanked him for what he did for America.

Thanks again, Hero Gene.

Friday, October 03, 2008


A lovely lady who wants no public applause for helping has sponsored the $1250 cost of another of Children's Cup's huge Christmas parties for the AIDS orphans and vulnerable children (OVC).

We care for 10,000 OVC in Swaziland, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe in 25 CarePoints. Each Christmas party includes transportation, gifts, food, games, jumping castles, and Gospel dramatizations.

It is a life-changing event they will remember the rest of their lives.

Two Christmas parties sponsored--23 to go.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


Last night Jean and I met her.
She's three years old.
And if all goes well she will become our adopted great niece.

Her mother recently punished her by holding her hands in boiling water for 30 seconds. I have to fight down the bile even as I write this. The mother is now in prison, but lovely little Valentina (born on Valentine's Day just like I was) will bear pain and scars the rest of her life.

On other occasions the mother would put her and her three siblings, one at a time, in the clothes dryer and turn it on.

Valentina is now in the Godly home of our niece and nephew. She sings happy songs about Jesus and asks her new family to pray for her mommie.

Would you join us all in praying for Valentina--and her mother? And her siblings?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


We are back where so many things in our lives started.

Children's Cup was born here.

Sunday will be the 50th anniversary of the first time I ever kissed Jean--right here in Des Moines. I think Ill try it again...

Valentines day it will be 50 years of grand adventure together.

Than you, Lord, and thank you Jean.

Monday, September 29, 2008


Which is the greater miracle? Calming a storm like Jesus did on Gallilee or calming a heart like will do for all who come to Him?


Hold a basin of water in your hands, get the water sloshing around. By holding the basin steady you can calm the water.

But hold a frightened bird in your hands and try to calm its terrified heart.

Let your troubled heart hear Him say, "My peace I give unto you..."


What a service yesterday morning!

This predominately African American church in Kansas City is pastored by Rev. Frank King and his wife Robin.

I sensed the same kind of authenticity in the leadership that I do at our home church, Healing Place Church in Baton Rouge.

If you live within drive range check this one out--regardless of your race. We hugged and were hugged in a genuine sense of brotherhood in Christ.

They have an obvious heart for missions and are sponsoring one of our huge Christmas parties for our 25 CarePoints in southern Africa. It costs $1250 to give several hundred kids a party with food (meat and ice cream, too), games, toys, personal gifts, Gospel and personal affirmation.

Later they will be sending a team of workers on a short term missions trip to Swaziland.

One party sponsored, 24 more to go.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


In the breakfast room of a hotel in Missouri this morning I watched a dignified black gentleman. His demeanor said he was military.

"Did you serve in the Far East?" I asked.

"Yes, I did. Navy."



"Were you there for the Tet Offensive?"

With that question he entered a world of memory alive in his mind. He told of close, personal combat in the battle for Hue.

I noticed the entire room was listening to our conversation.

"Do you think about it every day?"

"Oh, yes. Especially how Americans treated me when I came home. The sneers, the names they called me..."

His voice trailed off.

"I served my country, I obeyed my President, and I'd do it again."

I told him about my friend that spent 8 years in the Hanoi Hilton who came home to a divorce and the taunts of "Baby Killer."

"I know how he felt," my new friend said.

"Please let me apologize and thank you for fighting for my country--for my family."

"Thank you. Somebody else said that to me yesterday, too."

"America has changed. We are running out of people like you."

We parted quietly both having a sense of having been in each other's hearts for a few moments.

I didn't get his name--wish I had.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Before we can trust you, we must be able to believe you.


Beware the long answers.

They usually are carefully crafted with words designed to communicate the lie without actually telling the lie.

Only by precisely parsing the sentences can the real truth be discerned.

Athenian sophists' skill couldn't match today's word manipulators.

An honest man wields great power with short answers like "Yes" or "No." If further definition is required let that be given after the short answer.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Do the increasingly strident political arguments and attacks remind you of the fights and screaming of your elementary school playgrounds?

It seems that the attackers are only interested in winning the word fights--not the logical and moral substance of an issue.

What has happened to truth?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Our African children love stickers. I've even seen a child get out of a food line to get into a sticker line. He was betting we would have more food there tomorrow if the food ran out today, and he knew the stickers would be gone in a few minutes.

Monday, September 22, 2008


I often tell people who talk to me about Africa, "Once you go to Africa, you'll go back in your mind every day the rest of your life."

I think that is mostly true.

I met a man who had served as a missionary in Africa 17 years earlier. I asked him, "Levi, is it true, do you think about Africa every day?"

He didn't say anything for a while. Instead he started weeping. When he could speak he said, "Yes, it's true. In my mind I still live there."

My missions career has taken me to 109 countries and each of them have marked me, but there is something about the African countries that just won't let go of my heart.

Nor would I change that.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


This picture is Children's Cup's mission statement.

Great graphics work, Jean.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Ben and Susan and our three grandkids. Trinity, Kayla and Levi, are mighty strong reasons to go back to Africa--along with about 10,000 orphans and vulnerable children Children's Cup cares for.

We plan to go back October 16th. Hard to wait.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Lee is a friend to Healing Place Church and to Children's Cup.

He spoke today to the HPC men's luncheon--profound and stirring--again.

Sound bytes:
"Patience is a weapon."
"Patience is not passivity."
"When you help others with their dreams, God will give you your dream."
"Significance is more than success."
"Significance is measured by the difference an action makes and how long it lasts.

Thanks, Lee, for your anointed ministry.

We heard you.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Last night we took part in the Missions Convention at Hosanna Assembly of God Church in Baton Rouge. There was a poweful sense of "rightness" about the event and its goals.

I salute Pastor Don Williams and his leadership team for their steadfast vision for missions. Fewer and fewer churches have retained an active involvement in sending long-term missionaries. Some refuse to send anyone except for short-term teams believing that the internet can substitute for on-the-ground missionaries.

International businesses know better. They maintain a leadership presence guiding the success of local enterprizes.

Governmental foreign aid relying heavily on local administration does not do well at husbanding massive cash flows that seldom reach the needy people for whom they have designated their dollars.

Deciding which model is right is a "no brainer."

An aging foreign missionary corps is asking, "Where is the next wave of missionaries?" "Who will carry forward the training and equipping the local churches?"

I pray that pastors will bring back the altar services where burning hearts sing, "I'll go where you want me to go, dear Lord..."

Saturday, September 13, 2008


The worst is passed.
Hurricane Ike is leaving our area.
Sweet relief in the middle of the night.

But now I remember, my Texas neighbors are still in the middle of it right now.

I don't even know how to deal with the thought that my peace and safety came about because the hurrican changed direction and is now slamming into the Texas coast.
Thousands are hurting right now--perhaps many are dying.

How does one deal with such feelings?

First, I must acknowledge my debt to God, followed by my irrevocable commitment to spend my life easing the suffering of others.

My debt is bigger than I can pay.
Oh, sweet the thought, that's what Calvary's cross was all about.

So many times I have comforted others and reminded myself that God can take the worst thing that can happen to you and turn it into the best thing for you.

Hard to see when you're in the middle of the disaster...

Lord, I ask you to turn this thing to good for every victim--so much they will thank You for it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

SEPTEMBER 11, 2001

Seven years ago today America cried and ran to the altars of faith. God heard, came close and carried America through its darkest days.

Today, much of America has abandoned those same altars. Indeed, some even ridicule them and legislate against them, seeking to deny access to those sacred havens to our children, our institutions, and, yes, even our hallowed halls of government.

What will it take to bring America back to the altars?

Monday, September 08, 2008


Chet Atkins called Jerry the greatest guitar player in the world.

His music awed us.

His acting in "Smokey and the Bandit" and "Waterboy" had us laughing.

His great sense of humor made it fun to be around him.

And his heart's honest serch for God touched all that knew him.

We will miss him.

Saturday, September 06, 2008


My family has just lost another friend--for a little while.

Buzz Cason, one of Children's Cup's board members was instrumental in leading Jerry into a walk with Jesus.

Jerry entered into Bible study with Buzz and some other Nashville musicians. Ben Rodgers and I got to take part in that.

Buzz, Jean and I took Jerry to see "The Passion of the Christ." As we walked out of the theater Jerry was weeping. He stopped us in the foyer and said, "Right here, and right now I am telling you and promising Jesus that I will live every day of the rest of my life for Him."

Now they are together.

We'll see you later, Jerry!

Friday, September 05, 2008


This awesome church (our home church) is really reaching out to the community. It's making such an impact the wife of Governor Bobby Jindal just came by to see for herself and to thank Pastor Dino and the church for helping.

By the way, the Jindals are also born-again believers!


September 3, 2008

Now I know why they call it “Aftermath.”

It’s because after the storm passes you start to do the math on what its damage will cost you.

We are doing that now.

Since Hurricane Katrina, insurance companies have redefined what they will pay for and have made mandatory deductibles that shift much of the recovery burden onto the property owner.

In the case of Children’s Cup right now, it looks like we could be facing more than $31,000 in uninsured losses due to Gustav.

All of me is praying, part of me wants to panic (we still haven’t covered more than $30,000 in the Swaziland deficit) but underneath it all I have an abiding assurance that God knows where the money is and He will call His willing people to help.


Twenty minutes ago I came back from the post office. They are operating without electricity and just sorting what they can.

In our mail today was a letter from Shelly Meyer with a “special offering” check from Joyce Meyer Ministries for $20,000—nearly one-third what we need.



September 2, 2008

Downed trees hiding live utility wires, branches blown everywhere choking roads—we had only one circuitous route to get out of our neighborhood.

Initial Children’s Cup Office damage list:

Downed trees (three of them cherished live oak trees)
Roof, soffits, and siding damage

Warehouse overhead door and possible roof damage
Mobile home staff house damage (at least it is still standing)
No injuries or loss of life.

This is neat: Our sons Dan and Josh have both taught their children to enjoy the dramatics of a storm. They saw the storm as an adventure.

Makes us remember typhoon seasons in the Philippines when our kids were little. We usually had more than a dozen typhoons hit our island every year. It may have been that sometimes we got more scared than the kids.


It’s Labor Day 2008 and Hurricane Gustav just spent several hours pounding Baton Rouge.

We were not hurt.

Our house seems to have escaped damage—trees were falling on houses all around us.
Initial reports are that the Children’s Cup office complex did sustain damage but all should be repairable. We’ll check after the total curfew is lifted.

Son Dan’s house and ‘Cup office manager June’s house had serious roof damage—but again, nobody hurt.

They tell us to expect to be without electricity and phones for up to three weeks. My near panic reminds me how dependent we are on technology.

Gotta slow down a bit now whether we want to or not.

Don’t want to think about the four new potential storms brewing in the Atlantic…

Sunday, August 31, 2008


Our young family dwarfed by jungle foliage.
Look at the size of those leaves.


African sunset--one of my favorite things to see.


We’ve done all the defensive things within our means to be ready to ride out Hurricane Gustav. It will hit where we are in Louisiana soon.

Son Josh brought by an old hymnal he found containing the songs we grew up with. What a find!

For the last hour our living room has been place of peace and presence of Jesus. Jean has been flipping the pages and singing (in the most honest and lovely alto voice I have ever known)—and reliving altar scenes out of our youth. Old songs that stirred us as we grew up have not lost their power.

They are the songs that called us to repentance, to a daily walk with Jesus, to the mission field and to lofty times of praise to Almighty God.

Tho we’ve not heard some of them for years the words came easily and were wonderfully warming to our hearts.

The questions hit me. “How many sermons do you remember from your youth?”
“How many songs do you remember?”

Of course, the sermons guided our lives, but adding the power of music to the words planted them deeply in our beings.

The abiding refrains of the hymns, in a way, became the script—the scriptures—for our actions. They lay a bed of peace under our uncertain days. They gave us an assured path through hard places. And they enabled grateful hearts to praise and extol and sense the presence of our Savior.

The devil knows how this works and is jack-hammering hell's script into our children's hearts.

A different music stirs our children today. Let’s make sure that the music-script for their lives does not leave out the redeeming power of the Blood, the impending return of Jesus, and the personal commitment to “surrender all.”

Do you remember these lines?

"Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling..."
"I'll go where you want me to go, Dear Lord..."
"On a hill far away..."
"What a friend we have in Jesus..."
"I will praise Him, I will praise Him..."
"Almost persuaded..." (That one plagued me in my rebellious days.)
"Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, sweetest name I know..."
"Where He leads me I will follow..." (even to the hard places of the world)
"I'll live for Him Who died for me..."
"I've anchored my soul in the haven of rest..."
"When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound..."
"Come ye sinners lost and hopeless, Jesus Blood can make you free..."
"Rescue the perishing, care for the dying..."
"My Jesus I love Thee..."
"Grace, grace. God's grace..."
...and hundreds more.

What old, familiar, and life-scripting phrases have come to your mind?


More than a million people have left where they live evacuationg to higher ground. They are fleeing the wrath of a storm. Our city is one big traffic jam of fleeing evacuees. Healing Place Church has two locations offering safety and relief.

Everybody is concerned.

You would expect me to take it to the next sentence.

Jesus is coming.

How do we get people to take that fact as seriously as they are taking the evacuation orders?

Friday, August 29, 2008


No, I don’t mean that muscle that keeps the blood circulating; I mean that part of Dave that is so deep it’s mostly unknowable.

I’m the part of him that hears words from eternity, past and future—that part that has access to direct communication with God through His indwelling Spirit.

Man’s heart has been called “desperately wicked and who can know it?” and it’s also been called the source of the “issues of life.”

Can a heart know itself?

Can I be sure my advice to you is pure?

Dave, I have watched you struggle to know me. I have done my best to guide you. Sometimes you have listened, sometimes you didn’t. Sometimes I had little to offer you.

Your fault or mine?

I know this. The times when my advice is purest are the times when your mind allows me to be totally open to the infilling of the Holy Spirit of God.

To make our cohabitation work I must be totally open to the Spirit. You must surrender to that Spirit in your actions. I cannot act—only you have that capacity.

You have the power to willfully ignore my counsel. That’s when things go wrong.

Sometimes I want to shout at you but at most I am but a whispered voice in your mind. You can look back and quickly see that the times when you are most productive and at peace in your mind are those times when you act within the counsels of the Spirit in me.

As your heart I wonder how it is possible that I can sometimes give you incomplete or even incorrect guidance. The Spirit can only saturate me to the extent you are willing.

I am not your will.

You must choose to let me be continually filled with that Spirit and then you must trust His counsel relayed by my voice in your inner being. I’ve heard the word “symbiosis” used to describe our kind of relationship.

I think there is a key to this. There is a means to override enemy input and human limitations. It is the precious gift of praying in the Spirit.

It must be an uninterrupted connection so usual and patterned that when your conscious mind must focus on other matters, the inner dialogue in the Spirit stays connected—rather like keeping the telephone to your ear when you must turn your attention to another matter.

And there must be an immediate return to that connection when you mind is free to come back. “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit” is what I am describing.

In the Spirit we are not limited by human understanding and boundaries—it is our access to the very mind of Christ. So sad that the connection can be severed or garbled so easily.

That connection so deep within and between us can only be enabled by the conscious commitment of your mind to pray and commune with the Holy One within me.

We must open the channel and keep it open.

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit,

Your Heart

Thursday, August 28, 2008


The stylus glides softly, grooving words into the soft clay. Soon the clay hardens and carries the word-grooves into the future.

The ring of the mallet hitting the chisel seems to add power to the words chipped into the stone.

The intriguing whisper-scratch of the quill as it pulls lines of ink across the parchment lures the reader.

Scrolls and books and tablets become library-arsenals of silent power.

Computer keyboards sound the rapid-fire of the 26 soldiers of the alphabet.

Printing presses multiply pages of words. The rhythmic sound of the rollers keeps saying, "Tell them, tell them, tell them."

Photo and video cameras freeze the shape of words for ready display as photographs or on screens--some of them bigger-than-life.

Microphones capture words with electricity and implant them on tapes, discs and chips--ready for amplifiers to explode the words into living decibels.

Transmitters hurl words wrapped in electricity and light beams into space where satellites ricochet them back to the rest of the world.

Indeed, of the making of books--of the making of devices to hold and communicate words--there is no end.

And there is no good excuse for not telling everybody about a saving, healing, returning Jesus.


The normal toilet in Africa is a hole in the ground--difficult. Few Westerners ever figure out how to use them.

Can you believe it was a great joy to find this toilet seat?


Tshaka (sometimes spelled Chaka) Zulu was the most feared leader Africa ever produced--not even Idi Amin compared.

I had this picture taken so I could give it to Tshaka Zulu's seventh generation grandson named David Mlambo.

Mlambo means hippopotomus.

David is a bold believer in Jesus. This gentle giant and I have worked together for decades in Zimbabwe.


The Queen Mother of Swaziland wanted to meet Children's Cup director Ben Rodgers and thank him for 'Cup's help for the people of Swaziland.

The current project was for warm blankets to be given to needy elederly Swazis.

Ben has an embarrassing memory of this event. Protocol calls for guests to await the Queen Mother on their knees. Well, Ben's legs went to sleep and he couldn't stand up when she called him forward.

So he crawled on his knees to meet her. He was embarrassed but the Queen Mother took it as an act of deep respect.

Recently, the King approved Children's Cup to receive several acres of prime property to develop a youth ministry and sports center where food, education, medical care and skills training and sports are made available to the children and youth.

Swaziland's leaders have observed how Children's Cup cares for several thousand of Swaziland's orphans and vulnerable children.

Keep on your knees, Ben--before God.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


It was on my desk when I came back from lunch.

And its raw power startled me.

Hours of careful, yet rustic carving had created a twelve inch high rugged cross on a pedestal. Bold knife strokes had shaped a visible memory of the place where it happened--where Savior Jesus' Blood bought salvation.

Scarlet stains soaked the wood where three nails had scarred the Immaculate and opened Redemptions arteries. Red blotches splattered on the rocks at the foot of the cross, and a stream of crimson stains showed where the blood had flowed off the mount.

On the base a small brass engraving tells the observer, "The Children Win."

"Dutch" had carved it--with the very knife he had used to carve his way through the "green hell" of the Vietnam War.

Notches on its handle marked the lives this knife had ended. Markers of pain and spilled blood. Still-bleeding wounds tormented Dutch's own mind as he remembered the faces of the ones he had killed.

His mind vivid with scenes of death in blood-drenched places, Dutch once again took up the knife. But this time it was to carve a cross--another place of another kind of Blood.

Not the blood of war and death, but life-giving Blood. Cleansing Blood. Healing Blood.

Every stroke, every cut into the wood shaped the form of the cross. Every time the blade hit the wood it whittled away more of the chains of memory that had locked him in torment.

Then, one by one, he picked up the three tiny nails and hammered them into the cross--just like the spikes that nailed his own sins and agonies to Calvary's cross.

His agony-notched knife laid at the foot of that cross on my desk for years--always reminding me that when Jesus, still pinioned by those nails, declared forgiveness it included Dutch, the ones he hurt, and the ones that hurt him.

It included you and me.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


It was softer than a voice, but louder than a thought.

As I sat at my desk I was paying some attention to business but thinking more about the risk some of our team and the believers in Africa are now facing.

They willingly risk everything for the Gospel.

Part of me is praying most of the time for them and asking God for clear signals on how to proceed.

Something in me said, “Look here for a moment.”

In the scene that filled my mind I was in a vast crowd standing in hushed awe before the Savior, now Judge, Jesus.

It was my turn to stand before Him.

As I neared the intense light coming from His presence, I was sure it would blind my eyes. Instead it made me see every smirch on my soul so very clearly.

Instead of white-hot heat, I felt the enveloping warmth of His presence.
And I knew that He knew all about me—there would be no covering up or blame shifting or damage control about how I had lived my life.

I couldn’t stand up. No flesh could stand before Him.

As I fell at His feet I saw the scars.

In the intense holiness of His presence, I knew that I deserved the harshest punishment for my sins.

Back inside time I could never have understood how my entire life could be on display all in the same instant. Every sin, every failure brought hot shame as it replayed in that timeless instant.

Beyond the throne I saw a rejoicing throng—what a joy to see many there that found Christ because of ministry I had part in. Yet, there was no room for pride for I also realized how many were not there because sometimes I stopped short when it got hard or dangerous or too costly.

How could I make excuses to Him for not going to them because of fear for my safety?

Jesus had come to earth for me knowing His death was a sure thing.
Do I somehow merit a higher level of personal security than His own martyred disciples did?

I remembered the “things” in my life I had struggled to pay for. Now I saw the throne-side absence of those hurting ones I could have reached with those same dollars. The “things”—and the untold ones--are gone.
I saw the scars again.

How must He have felt right then, knowing that too many times I was silent and didn’t tell the ones He took those scars for, that He loved them and had taken their place?

“Unworthy am I, unworthy am I,” the hot words of shame pressed down in my mind even as I heard the Host of Heaven singing, “Worthy is the Lamb!”

Then I remembered the lamb sacrifice scene in the temple.

The priest did not examine the sinner; he examined the sacrifice to see if it was perfect—He already knew the sinner was not. The thought exploded in my heart, “It was the sacrifice, not the repenter that had to be without spot.”

I was not without spot, but my sacrificial Lamb Jesus was, indeed, blemishless!

“Look,” He said as He drew my eyes up to His face and then to the Book.
In that instant, the entire panorama of my failures was swept away in a crimson, forgiving stream of His blood—erased out of Heaven’s book and out of my memory.

Never to be remembered again—by man or God!

Maybe He said it in audible words or maybe it was what His eyes were saying so loud that it thundered into my heart, but I heard the words,
“Enter into my joy!”

At once the tears were wiped away and I was standing—no, I was dancing and shouting in His presence.

The scene faded and, once again, I became aware of the computer keyboard in front of me.

I’m still sitting here sensing a need to write something or to answer some question about what the scene means.

The first thing my heart wants to yell out is, “Nothing else matters!”
I must stay under the blood that sweeps away sin.

I must do all that I can to bring others to that blood—that means going myself and enabling other willing witnesses to go into the hard places.

No matter what the cost or risk…

Nothing else matters.

Monday, August 25, 2008


Pastor Troy Shaw leads a congregation of committed, visionary people.

One of his members had a connection to buy the Bert and Loni mansion and acres at a good price. It didn't take long to establish a dynamic church that is dominating the area with the Gospel.

Bert and Loni's mansion is now the church offices and guest quarters.

I'd love to let them know about all the good their dream home is now doing.

This church also sponsors two of Children's Cup's CarePoints in Swaziland caring for several hundred parentless and vulnerable children.

If you live in the area, check it out.


What an amazing young church! HPC St. Francisville is about an hour away from Baton Rouge.

Pastor Timmy Straight has developed this church to have the same ministry DNA as Pastor Dino Rizzo has developed in the Highland Campus of HPC Baton Rouge--parent to HPC campuses around the USA and several counries.

It is all about serving others and impacting their community--and the rest of the world.

If you are in drive range of this church check it out.

They hosted us and a young candidate missionary for Mozambique, Deborah Williams. What an amazing, committed young, talented lady.


Over this weekend Jean and I had the honor of fellowshipping with some of our personal heroes--Missionaries Gary and Marylin Skinner, founders of the great Kampala Pentecostal Church and the Watoto children's care ministry.

These people are impacting many African countries and thousands of parentless children's lives.

If the Watoto Children's Choir comes within driving range of you it is more than worth the trip to hear them.

President Bush and the Queen of England have asked for private concerts by them.

I do not hesitate to encourage you to help them.

Friday, August 22, 2008


Joyce Meyer held some of the most nation-changing meetings we have ever experienced!

This is the very same stadium where hundreds of Rwandans were butchered because they were from the "wrong tribe."

Now, hundreds found new life in Christ in these meetings timed to commemorate the 100 days genocide 14 years earlier.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


The genocide is over but the emotional and economic aftermath still make life hard.

This gentle child carries more than a load of firewood--she knows what happened to her parents and grandparents--and wonders if it will happen again..


Isabella is the first child I met when Ben and I first visited the Nkobe site where we now have a thriving CarePoint and Healing Place Church.

At the end of that first meeting I told her in English that she didn't understand (but I think she got the message, anyway), "Sweet Child, we are going to change your life!"

Now, more than two years later we have done just that providing her safety, adequate food, medical care, education and a church where she is learning to know Jesus in a personal way.

Everybody that meets her loves her smile and her spirit.

How sweet it is!


We are delighted that Lolo is an active participant in the ministies of Healing Place Church, Baton Rouge, LA.

She serves the needy and unfortunate up close and personal--a bona fide hero.

A word for Lolo: God is trusting you with an opportunity to show His grace and power. We all rejoiced with you and we cried with you.

How you handle this disappointment may well be the most effective message you ever preach.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


The words and sounds that fill your day WILL fill your heart!

Choose wisely.

Thoughts determine attitudes, and attitudes determine actions.


In the dark ages the Bibles were chained to the pulpit. Only the clergy could read them.

Things began to change when they unchained the Bible and made its Light available to everyone.

The way out of poverty and social darkness is the Light of God's Word.

Children's Cup is teaching children to read--so they can read the Bible.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008


This bombed out farm shed was the site of one of our open air clinics. It was all happening on the other side of the building.

This seriously ill lady almost made it but collapsed against the back wall.

I told Nurse Kath about her and she immediately came to her side and gave her the help that saved her life.

Sometimes we can't save the lives--this time we did.


I have stood in hushed awe in American war cemetaries in the Philippines and Luxembourg, thankful for their sacrifice.


Open-air kitchen and shade tree dining room.


Not the most comfortable, these pews, but this open air sanctuary knew the life-changing presence of God. Awesome memories of such meetings.


So much food...


Baboons will often swarm a car and refuse to leave. Some are very cheeky and have two-inch fangs.

We often got them to leave by rolling a window down a crack and throwing cookies or other food out.

When they jump down and fight over the food you "put the pedal to the metal."


Few things you can do to help others have more lasting value than teaching children to read and write.

I've known this joy in dozens of countries and for thousands of children.

One Head of State, Jose Napoleon Duarte of El Salvador, told me, "You have helped change my country."

Monday, August 18, 2008


Exact fit.


These were the marks of a good carpenter. Jesus learned well in Joseph's shop.

He bacame what is called in the original writings, "naggara--builder with wood and stone."

There's an intreguing significance in His earthly profession, yet it can easily be missed.

Remember what He said to Peter?

"I will build my church."

The "fit" is good, isn't it?

But examine deeper the precision of this exciting fulfillment.

Jesus, who learned to be a builder with wood and stone in Joseph's house told us, "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so I would have told you. I GO TO PREPARE (BUILD) A PLACE FOR YOU...!

The Carpenter, the Master Builder has gone to prepare our Heavenly home!


Food was not just a handout--it was a dignified "wage" earned for making roads throught the desert into their villages.

They gathered rocks from kilometers around to lay a roadbed.

Another form of "Food For Work" was building water catchments or dams to conserve water.

That also made future food deliveries easier.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Okay, call me a soppy old grandfather but this picture overwhelms me--many reasons.

First, have you ever seen a more lovely little cherub than my granddaughter Trinity?

Next, she is ministering to some of our orphans. She is standing between a brother and sister both infected with AIDS by their father. Trinity prays all the time for them. Notice her comforting hand on the sister's shoulder.

Three times we almost lost the sister--our medical staff and local medical people and prayer warriors brought her back to recovery.

I am challenged to ask myself, "Do I believe in God's healing enough to pray for her healing and to expect Him to do it?"

What an impact that testimony would have on the country.

I have prayed for God to stun the world and heal her. Do I expect Him to do it?

I know He can. You may know He gave me my life back when I was shot in the head as a teenager. Doctors said if I lived I'd be a "blubbering idiot." I lived.

You may have read my recent blog about God healing Jackolyna in three days of a black mamba bite.

Right now I'm praying, "Lord, I do believe. Help thou mine unbelief."

Do you want to pray with me for these precious orphans?

Saturday, August 16, 2008


A typical bush clinic registration office.

Keth Neville was a recipient of the Rotary Club's Paul Harris Award--like the one Mother Teresa got.

She spent the last years of her life serving as the only available medical care for about 30,000 people.

Friday, August 15, 2008


Every year they crucify several volunteers at San Fernando, La Union. They march to the site beating their own backs with glass-chip laced whips until they are bloody pulps.

The misguided sacrificer is taken down before death.

This photo is blurred because I was falling as I shot it. When they hoisted the cross up the surging crowd knocked me down.


One of Hitler's "final solution" extermination centers.

A sobering place to visit.

One pastor friend from Iowa visited with us. We were out back behind the buildings standing by the posts where firing squads executed the prisoners.

Our friend said, "Take a picture of me standing at the post." As he stood at the post and I set up to take the picture a volley of shotgun blasts came from just around the corner. My friend nearly dropped to his knees from the emotional shock. He's probably glad I didn't get the photo.

We didn't know there was a group of men with shotguns trying to shoot the rats in the moat that circled the camp.

All of us will remember that moment.


I watched them labor for a while. Hard work. But harvest will come.



It’s not a construction of superficially logical, interlinking explanations--I'm talking about a Godly life.

It’s not just words fitly framed around flawed ideas.

It’s not a memorized set of rules and explanations.

It’s not a process of choices designed to impress those who measure each other among themselves by themselves.

Rather, it is a Person.

It is a total surrender and commitment to let a One-Time-Sandal-Wearer named Jesus direct every step of my life.

Not easy.

Yet, so very exciting.

Serene excitement? Maybe that oxymoron really comes close to describing this walk along the sandal-printed path.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Left to right: Lee Domingue, Dave, Mark Stermer, and Joe Martin.
Lee and Joe are business leaders in Baton Rouge who travel to Africa at their own expense to help Children's Cup.
Mark is one of the pastors from HPC Baton Rouge


Jackolyna, hero of Nkobe.

This dear leady was helping clear the ground for our new church and CarePoint in Mozambique. A black mamba--one of the deadliest snakes in the world--bit her.

The doctor said she could not possibly live. My first thought was the people will think the church ground was cursed. People around the world started praying. On the third day she was totally recovered--absolute miracle.

Ben Rodgers asked her where she would have gone if she had died. She just hung her head.

"God has given you a second chance. Do you want to give your life to Him?"

"Yes!" she answered excitedly. She jumped up and said, "Oh, I must tell everybody."

Now she is the hero of the area.

And about that curse--she tells everyone, "If you want to meet the God the beat the snake come to this church!"

Not a curse--a blessing!


Susan learned about a single mother about to give birth. The girl had no blankets or clothing for the baby.

Daughter Susan went to our granddaughter Trinity's room and loaded up a bunch of blankets and baby clothes for the new baby.

In gratitude, the new mother named her newborn baby, "Susan."

Rather special, right?


" A Christian response to hunger,"--9,000 tons of it.

It was a great honor to direct a project that imported and delivered this massive amount of food for starving Ethiopians.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


If still photos had sound you'd hear the moslem call to prayer from this tower at a major mosque in this capitol city of Sudan.

Everything stopped and the devout all bowed to pray.

Shame on us Christians.


China dolls.

They sang for me.


Land Rover--the vehicle that penetrated Africa.

I purchased this one for Enrique Mugabe, the President of the Assemblies of God churches in Mozambique. A couple months later on a return visit to Mozambique I didn't see the Land Rover anywhere. I asked Pastor Mugabe about it. "Oh, Brother Dave, please forgive me. I gave it to one of the pastors in a remote area who needed it much more than I."

This Godly and selfless man greatly influenced government officials who often sought his advice.

I realized that even if we could have, it would have been impossible to make him a rich man--he'd give it all away.

What a heart. What an example.


Every day as we drove to the office at International Correspondence Institute near the infamous Waterloo battlefield we passed this awesome chalet.

Hitler had used it as his headquarters during his occupation of Belgium. It has a foreboding, ominous lure about it.


President "Papa Doc" Fancois Duvalier's palace. I took this as I was leaving the country with George Davis. It was a dramatic day.

As we took off we saw a merchant cargo ship sinking in the harbor. We heard the captain had refused to pay bribes so they sunk his ship.

Then we learned that a rogue Haitian military pilot had bombed the wing of the Papa Doc's palace where the he was expected to be.

He wasn't in that room and survived.

Interesting: Papa Doc described himself as obeah--having special voodoo powers with the devil. He used the title "President for life." He also claimed the spirits had assured him he would never die.

He did.



The wheat to save starving people in remote places had to be air dropped. Germany provided Hercules planes to do the drop.

Here the wheat is being loaded into bags. First a normal 100kg bag. Then that bag was placed in a larger bag. Finally it was all placed in a third larger bag.

When dropped, the small bag would burst spilling the grain into the second bag. And if the second bag broke it would spill into the third bag--no grain lost.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


The Board.

Left to right: John Carter, Dave Ohlerking, Norm Anderson, Dr. George Flattery (President and Founder), George Davis, and Norm Correll

These men accepted the challenge to create Bible study materials for nations and language groups. They now cover the globe.

The Minister of Education for Germany told us once, "These are the finest distance education materials I have ever seen."

It was great to be part of this even though the cold, grey, rainy skies drove me nuts.


She was so intent on reading her Bible in this serene spot she didn't even know I was there and took this photo.

The Asians place high value on serenity--something we Americans often miss out on.


Bloated bellies come from malnutrition and stomach parasites.
A dollar's woth of medicine can cure the parasites, a few dollars per month can give this child food.
How could anybody not want to help this beautiful child?


Water is worth more than gold in the desert.

This lad takes measured sips from a gourd-canteen.

Another thing hard in the desert is photography. Dark skin against a bright sandy background is a challenge to an amatuer like me.


At 15 years old Shepard was forced to be the caretaker and provider for his siblings.

This bright, honest young man gratefully accepted our help and developed into a leader in the church. He is now assistant pastor in a new church and CarePoint in Zimbabwe.

Anybody that meets this young man senses he really does have a "shepherd's heart."


I've been watching a lot of the Beijing olympics--amazing ceremonies and competition.

Time and time again I've heard them talk about how important it is to "Stick the landing." No matter if it has been a perfectly executed program it comes down to the landing.

That makes a pretty good sermon about how we should live our lives--concentrate on and prepare for the landing.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


“My God!” More often than not that is the explosive invective when one is startled by something good or bad.

Increasingly our society speaks with brave daring-do defying and trivializing God. Why don’t they say “Oh Zeus” or “Oh Einstein”? It seems to be the heart of man will swear by the strongest thing he can think of to give words emphasis.

The unplanned exclamation “Oh God” proves the basic awareness in the core of man that there is, indeed, a sovereign God.

Invoking the name of God to damn someone is taking the Lord’s name in vain, but so is wrongly quoting Him and falsely claiming His authority. I think vain repetition in prayer comes close to profanity no matter how lofty the prose.

What started as a vengeful request—perhaps an honest but misguided prayer-- for God to damn someone or something to hell has become no more than a dramatic invective. Originally it may have been an attempt to strike fear into the heart of the target, but it is now diluted to be just ugly rhetoric.

Frail humankind use “Hell” like they are not afraid of it.

“Hell of a good time.” What sense does that make?

The devil loves to have people pretend he and his domain are mere fiction—not the hideous reality they are.

Using culturally taboo words is a way to show you fear nobody—man or God. In reality you are revealing your own insecurity and lack of communication skills or you would not have to appeal to the forbidden to communicate forcefully what concise words in a well constructed sentence could do. Exhibit A: why is poetry so revered?

“A word fitly spoken…”

Consider what inane, profane words do to The One who is called The Word. Certainly it grieves the heart of Jesus. It is the devil’s device to demean the One Who defeated him on the cross.

Words are building blocks in the construction of relationships. What builder chooses to use inferior or harmful bricks to erect a building?

If I use words to destroy you and you use words to destroy me we both lose. If we edify each other with Godly words we both win.

Saturday, August 09, 2008


I could shiver right now just looking at this picture.
Taking the picture was an act of stupid bravery on my part.